NCT 127 - Regular
NCT 127 is the second sub-unit of NCT, both of which are groups housed under SM Entertainment. The ten-member group debuted back in 2016, and while I did review some of their music on the NCT 2018 Empathy album, I’ve yet to have the opportunity to review one of their music videos. I was excited that I was getting the opportunity this year. I didn’t check out any of the teasers for this release, but I did already have the English version of this release on repeat since it got released on Monday. That said, I held off on reviewing it until the Korean release, just in case there were any changes between the two.
In terms of musical flow, direction, and basically anything apart from the lyrics, the song didn’t shift much. Which means I get to say that I’m absolutely infatuated with this track! Seriously, I have not been able to put it down since I first played it on Monday. The rhythms from the instrumentals, the rap flows, the progression of the song, the near genre shift at the bridge that still manages to be coherent and cohesive? All of this song is bizarrely captivating and I just can’t find myself getting enough.
Admittedly, listening to the English version probably ruined my expectations for some of the parts in the Korean version, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the song at all. Lyrically, there do seem to be a lot of differences in terms of the message that they were going for, which is apparently part of the concept this album, so there’s that. I personally cannot verify that at the moment, but I figured I’d mention it.
Everything from the “queso” to the “splash” going on in the background is absurd and yet so catchy. The hollow synth beat, the deep bumping bass, the slow claps for percussion, literally all of this song is so damn catchy. And don’t even get me started on those vocal melodies. I think that this actually might be my favorite track from any of the NCT groups ever at this point in time, and that is definitely saying something.
Alright, I got one word with six letters that explains this music video - budget. Holy christ did SM spend on this video. There’s so much variety in terms of backdrops and colors - it’s impossible to take your eyes away from the screen while this is playing. It’s absolutely fantastic. I don’t know when SM decided it was time to go full out, but I am so glad that decision was made.
There were some minor differences between the Korean and English versions, but it wasn’t anything too big. The most noticeable thing was that the Korean version had more scenes inside the pool hall, and that the English version had a quick flash of a TV mentioning that everything is a dream, which as I mentioned earlier, lines up with the lyrical differences between the two versions.
Somebody’s going to have to explain that tiger, though. Just kidding, that somebody is going to be me. If I was to approach this from a basic angle, which I am, I’d say that it’s likely drawing the inspiration from Tai Shen Yeh, the Chinese God of Wealth, who is typically seen seated atop a tiger. Since this song touches on wealth, it only makes sense to me that it’s a simple metaphoric image.
As for everything else? I loved it. There wasn’t some pretentious attempt to pretend that there was important imagery. It was straight up a show of flashiness and fun. It was a nonstop party and that is exactly how I feel this song is, so this video was basically perfect.
“Regular” is one of the strongest comebacks from the whole year in my opinion. If you weren’t sold on SM treading into hip-hop territory, than this song will absolutely change your mind. With its rich, fresh ideas and flawless execution, this song is easily going to remain as one of my top picks for the whole year, and I’m unashamed to recommend that everybody listens to this song. (Especially if you are also “walking with the cheese, that’s that queso.”)